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After 9 years of legal wrangling music streaming service Grooveshark has been forced to shut after it settled several copyright infringement lawsuits between the service and Universal Music Group, Sony Music Entertainment, and Warner Music Group.

Part of the agreement will see the website, patents and intellectual property transferred to the labels and the service will be immediately shut down from today.

Unlike 99% of other streaming services, Grooveshark didn’t actually license the music on the service from labels, instead it relied on users to upload their music to create the company’s music library.

It a final act of contrition, the company posted a lengthy apology to its fans and the labels it had infringed.

The company was facing financial ruin due to copyright lawsuits that would have seen Grooveshark pay major labels $150,000 for each song it had infringed, and with almost 5,000 under consideration in the trial, it would have meant if they lost they would have owed hundreds of millions in fines.

Dear music fans,

Today we are shutting down Grooveshark.

We started out nearly ten years ago with the goal of helping fans share and discover music. But despite best of intentions, we made very serious mistakes. We failed to secure licenses from rights holders for the vast amount of music on the service.

That was wrong. We apologize. Without reservation.

As part of a settlement agreement with the major record companies, we have agreed to cease operations immediately, wipe clean all the data on our servers and hand over ownership of this website, our mobile apps and intellectual property, including our patents and copyrights.

At that time of our launch, few music services provided the experience we wanted to offer ­and think you deserve. Fortunately, that’s no longer the case. There are now hundreds of fan friendly, affordable services available for you to choose from, including Spotify, Deezer, Google Play, Beats Music, Rhapsody and Rdio, among many others.

If you love music and respect the artists, songwriters and everyone else who makes great music possible, use a licensed service that compensates artists and other rights holders. You can find out more about the many great services available where you live here: http://whymusicmatters.com/find-music.

It has been a privilege getting to know so many of you and enjoying great music together. Thank you for being such passionate fans.

Yours in music,

Your friends at Grooveshark

Andrew Rafter

Andrew Rafter is the editor and founder of Harder Blogger Faster.